Hollywood Films as Social Studies Curriculum: Advancing a Critical Media Literacy Approach to Analyzing Black Male Representation

Charise Pimentel, Christopher L. Busey


Critical media literacy approaches to teaching are a pedagogical imperative in twenty-first century education. It is increasingly important educators rethink what constitutes media and extend this conceptualization to Hollywood film as directors and producers also communicate sociopolitical messages.  This article explores the intersection of critical media literacy, Hollywood film, and Black males through the lens of Black cultural projection.  We use prior research to argue Black males are portrayed as endangered in school curriculum, namely social studies, and this portrayal parallels what students encounter when watching Hollywood films.  The significance of this multimodal distortion of Black males is crucial to consider as films are increasingly used in social studies classrooms.  We offer a critical analysis of the Hollywood film The Blind Side as an example of Black cultural projection; then conclude with a call for critical media literacy to be applied towards the use of film in social studies classrooms.


Critical Media Literacy; Film; Black Males; Social Studies

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education